The greenest Swedish embassy of the year

Published 24 September 2018 in:

Photo: Sweden’s Embassy in Jakarta

Sweden is working to be a world leader and a driving force in efforts to bring about sustainable development. This work is being conducted not only in Sweden, but also at Swedish missions throughout the world. In this article we check in on the environmental efforts at Sweden’s Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia – the greenest Swedish embassy of the year.

The Embassy in Jakarta was named winner of the internal Green Embassy 2018 award. The award, a joint initiative of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the National Property Board of Sweden, aims to highlight concrete environmental efforts at the missions abroad. The criteria for receiving the award are that the mission must have distinguished itself in environmental terms, have an engaged head of mission and involve all staff members in its environmental efforts. The mission must also be a local role model in the environmental area and successfully attract attention to its activities. So, what has the Embassy in Jakarta done in real terms to earn this award?

“We have installed solar panels on the roof of the Ambassador’s residence. This is important not only because it gives us the opportunity to produce our own electricity, but also because it has important symbolism and shows other house-owners that it is possible to be electrically self-sufficient. We have also begun cooperating with an Indonesian organisation that has helped us to introduce a waste sorting system at the Embassy. Furthermore, we have persuaded the property owner to increase the temperature in the office so that we can reduce the use of air conditioning and thus our electricity consumption,” says Johan Hultquist, who works at the Embassy.

Despite solid environmental efforts, the Embassy still has development potential. A locally engaged employee with specific responsibility for environment and climate efforts works continuously on identifying new ways for the Embassy to reduce its environmental and climate impact. These do not always involve major changes such as installing solar panels, but also changing staff habits, for example with regard to electricity consumption, paper consumption, use of plastic and recycling. Mr Hultquist explains that transportation is the area where staff experience the greatest difficulties in being environmentally friendly:

“The range of environmentally friendly cars and, for example, electric mopeds has been extremely limited, but we are beginning to see some car manufacturers launching more environmentally friendly vehicles. Naturally, it would be best if the staff didn’t need to drive to work, but until such time as public transport has been developed, we will try to take environmental consideration when buying new vehicles. We also try to car-pool as much as possible, for example together with other Nordic embassies.”

This cooperation doesn’t only facilitate matters in the transport area. During the autumn, the Embassy will also try to introduce waste sorting at the residence and they hope to get some of their neighbours on board. They also see great opportunities for Swedish-Indonesian cooperation in a number of areas.